Meet the Former NBA Player Who Graduated from Harvard Law School

Basketballs branded with the National Basketball Association (NBA)logo are displayed for sale at a Modell's retail location in Times Square, New York, U.S., on Tuesday, March 27, 2012. Photo by Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Editor’s Note: This post is written by the global head of Shearman & Sterling’s intellectual property and technology transactions group. It is part of a contributor series that expands on interviews he conducts on his site, Hsu Untiedwhich look at the human side of lawyers. 

By Richard Hsu, Partner and Global Head of Intellectual Property and Technology Transactions, Shearman & Sterling

Today, my guest is Len Elmore, an All-American basketball player from 1971 to 1974 at the University of Maryland, who was a first round draft pick in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA).  

Over his ten-year career, he played for the Indiana Pacers, Kansas City Kings (presently Sacramento Kings), Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey Nets, and New York Knicks.  After retiring from professional basketball, Elmore received a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1987 and began his law career as a prosecutor, serving as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn.

He is currently on the Board of several public companies and teaches a course in Sports Media at Columbia University.  Here are some highlights of my interview with him:

[Scroll down for complete interview]

Why Len went to Harvard Law School after professional basketball.  Growing up during the age of television and the Vietnam war, being a lawyer was always a childhood dream of Len’s as a way of having an impact in society.  After retiring from basketball in 1984, his wife dared him to apply to Harvard Law School.

Whether law school was challenging after professional basketball.  Len said he enjoyed law school and while very challenging, he felt that his hard work and discipline as a professional basketball player helped him get good grades and be successful academically.  He still remains the only former NBA player to graduate from Harvard Law School and while he played basketball in law school, he just missed the opportunity to play with President Obama.

What he did after law school.  Instead of joining a large law firm as an Associate, Len decided to join the prosecutors office, serving as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn.  Len enjoyed being a trial lawyer; but admits he never fathomed the amount of preparation it takes to try a case.

What he did after being a district attorney.  After being in the DA’s office, Len founded Precept Sports & Entertainment, a sports management company where he represented seven NBA first-round draft picks (including a number one pick overall), three high round draft picks in the NFL, an MLB veteran, and several Olympic athletes.

What he’s doing now.  Len Elmore currently serves on the boards of a couple of public companies and is also in his 24th year as a media basketball analyst, during which he has covered both NCAA men’s basketball and the NBA. He began his broadcasting career with JP Sports, CBS, and now currently works for ESPN. He also covers the NCAA Tournament for CBS and still enjoys watching basketball, especially college basketball.